Important Upcoming Changes

In this alert we touch on some of the important upcoming changes that you need to be aware of in relation to:

  • Annualised Salaries in Awards
  • Mandatory Whistleblower Policies due 1 January 2020
  • Award changes

Annualised Salaries in Awards – changes coming

The Fair Work Commission recently decided that changes will be made to the annualised salary provisions in 18 Awards, and that the new provisions will be inserted into 6 Awards which have not previously had an annualised salary clause.

Employers who pay annualised salaries to employees under the relevant Awards will need to carefully review the changes and ensure they are compliant with the new requirements. It is expected that this could involve substantial adjustments to time-recording, administrative and payroll procedures for many employers.

Generally, the changes increase red tape for employers and include:

  • a more onerous requirement to conduct annual audits of annualised salaries and pay any shortfall to employees within 14 days;
  • that employers must record start, finish and unpaid break times which must be signed off by the employee each pay period/roster cycle;
  • a more onerous requirement that that employers advise in writing the entitlements to be absorbed by the salary and the calculation method for each separate component;
  • that employers advise an outer limit for the number of overtime or penalty rate hours included in the salary and if this outer limit is reached during a pay period/roster cycle, the employee must be separately compensated in accordance with the Award for those extra hours.

The changes are currently being finalised by the Commission and are expected to be effective from 1 March 2020. Aitken Legal will update you further once the Commission releases the final versions of the clauses.

Mandatory Whistleblower Policies due 1 January 2020

The revamped federal whistleblower laws commenced on 1 July 2019. The laws require that mandatory whistleblower policies for public companies be in place by 1 January 2020. Large proprietary companies are also required to have a mandatory policy in place, likely also by 1 January 2020 but this depends on the timing of the company’s financial year.

Failure to have a compliant policy in place by the deadline could result in a penalty of up to $126,000.

Even if your business is not required to have a mandatory policy in place, companies and other entities have been required to comply with the extensive new laws since 1 July 2019. Having a policy will help ensure compliance and protect your business with the consequences for not complying with the new laws significant.

Take a look at our recent Employment Update on the laws and what you should do. We are able to assist with preparing or reviewing policies and providing advice about the laws and how they apply to your business.

Award changes are continuing to be made

The Fair Work Commission is continuing to make changes to Awards as part of its ongoing 4-yearly review.

We have started seeing an increase in decisions come through from the Commission on various Awards as it appears to be starting to wrap up the review which is expected to be finalised in 2020.

Employers need to be on top of any changes being made to the Award/s relevant to their workplace. Tip: you can sign up to receive notifications of changes to Awards on the Fair Work Commission website.

Failure to comply with an Award carries hefty penalties for the business and any individual who is an accessory to the breach.

Disclaimer: The information contained this article is general and intended as a guide only. Professional advice should be sought before applying any of the information to particular circumstances. While every reasonable care has been taken in the preparation of this update, Aitken Legal does not accept liability for any errors it may contain. Liability limited by a scheme approved under professional standards legislation.